Self-confidence is one of the core requirements for a happy, healthy life. However, due to various internal and external factors, our self-confidence can suffer, and it can sometimes be challenging to push it back up.
Luckily, we have six secrets that’ll help you boost your confidence. We also have some bonus tips on workplace confidence and confidence in children.
Before we get into these, let’s first get an understanding of what self-confidence is.
What Is Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence is the attitude you have towards yourself, your skills, abilities, and judgment; it’s the way you carry yourself in the world.
Having self-confidence means that you trust and believe in yourself; you’re well aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and confidently handle criticism. It means you’re more likely to take risks, aren’t afraid to make mistakes, and are guided by your inner convictions and beliefs.
On the contrary, low self-confidence can leave you hesitant, doubtful, passive, untrusting, and submissive. A person lacking in confidence can often feel inferior and unloved.
So why do some people struggle with self-confidence? There’s no definitive answer to that, but it’s almost never innate. Low self-confidence and self-esteem are, for the most part, learned behaviours.
Personal experiences, fear of failure, tough childhood, self-critical nature, toxic environments, and being away from your loved ones can all hurt your self-confidence. Additionally, anything that impacts your self-worth will most likely take a jab at your confidence, too. Having low self-esteem will leave you doubting yourself, skills, abilities, and judgment.
It’s important to note that self-confidence isn’t dependent on your abilities themselves but rather your self-perception. Also, self-confidence can be dynamic; you can have confidence in one area of your life and lack it in another.
Why Is Self-Confidence Important?
“Crippling doubt” is a term sometimes used to describe a lack of confidence. This term stems from the inability of a person to take risks, or any action at all, due to their lack of confidence. This person is in a constant state of fear and doubt, which prevents them from pursuing the goals and dreams that could boost their confidence.
As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle. With no intervention, the self-confidence will dwindle indefinitely, significantly impacting the quality of life.
Having high self-confidence is associated with higher levels of health, happiness, and satisfaction. In addition, it translates into healthier relationships, resilience, positivity, success, and willingness to try new things. In other words, self-confidence is essential because it has the power to improve your overall quality of life drastically.
How to Build Your Self-Confidence?
Working towards elevating your self-confidence can be quite a ride. It takes time, energy, courage, determination, and, in some cases, professional help.
Luckily, there are six easy steps you can start with right away, so let’s discuss them.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone
We often look for a reference to gauge how well we’re doing in life, and we usually assign others as the reference and start comparing. Comparing yourself to others, be it on social media or in real life, is your first step towards failure.
Your ultimate focus should be yourself, not other people or their accomplishments. Falling into the comparison trap will make you lose sight of who you are and what you have.
Envy isn’t something you want to live with, so instead of comparing, count your blessings. List the things you’re grateful for and focus your energy on becoming a better person.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Self-care goes a long way when it comes to building confidence. Of course, it can take many shapes and forms, but we’ll only be discussing four of those.
Workout, Eat Clean, and Sleep Well
Regularly working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle contribute to how you perceive yourself in various ways.
Firstly, sticking to a workout schedule and a particular lifestyle requires commitment. Proving to yourself that you can commit to something does wonders for your self-confidence.
Secondly, if you commit long enough, you’ll start seeing changes in your body and in the way you carry yourself. Part of it is related to health and posture, and the other part is somewhat more profound. When you look better, you feel better; it’s as simple as that.
Finally, exercise, good food, and good sleep cause your body to release chemicals and hormones that protect it, boost your mood and motivation, and battle anxiety and depression.
Be Kind to Yourself
Failing and making mistakes is normal, so treat it as such. Don’t dwell on your failure but rather recognise your strengths.
Acknowledge your effort and progress, and make a point of rewarding yourself for your accomplishments. And when faced with obstacles and challenges, reassure yourself and practice positive self-talk.
Remind Yourself of Your Accomplishments
Feeling like you’ve never accomplished anything is a hallmark of low self-confidence. The truth of the matter is, while this is a common thing to feel, it simply can’t be true.
If you’re alive today, you have accomplished something. The reason you may feel like you haven’t is either setting unrealistic goals, or comparing your accomplishments to someone else’s, or both.
Constantly remind yourself of your accomplishments, regardless of how small. Write them down where you can see them, and add to them every time you accomplish something new. This sort of reminder will keep you from sliding down the confidence slope, and you can always go back to it whenever you need a boost.
Have Your Own Back
Stop waiting for the world to give you what you deserve, and go get it yourself. Stand up for yourself, believe in your abilities, be your biggest cheerleader, express your needs and beliefs, learn to say no when needed. You need to trust that you have control over your own life.
3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you’re not confident, you’ll be less likely to take risks. Ironically enough, if you don’t take risks, you become less confident. So instead of avoiding the discomfort that comes with trying new things, seek it.
True self-confidence stems from being comfortable in as many environments and situations as possible, especially those that make most people uncomfortable. The goal here isn’t to constantly be uncomfortable but rather to stretch out your comfort zone. The more environments you feel comfortable in, the higher your self-confidence will be.
Here, the best approach would be to take small daily steps. For example, try something that scares you every day, and watch how your confidence grows over time.
4. Set Smart Goals
As we mentioned earlier, accomplishing goals is a self-confidence booster. So set out your goals and start pursuing them. However, this can be tricky because you sink deeper into the vortex of doubt and self-insufficiency if you set goals and fail to accomplish them.
This is why it’s crucial to be smart about the goals you set. When setting out your goal, make sure it’s practical and achievable. Again, you choose what’s realistic and doable to you; don’t use someone other than yourself for reference. Also, perfection is unattainable, so keep that in mind.
A good idea would be to start with the smallest task you can think of. The goal here is to get you to tick things off your list to give you a sense of accomplishment. Then, you gradually build your confidence with every tick you make, setting you off to accomplish bigger goals.
Pro tip: writing your dreams down increases your odds of accomplishing them. If you’re new to the world of journaling and planning, you can try it and see how it changes your productivity.
5. Work on Your Mindset
It’s easy to base future predictions on past outcomes, but it’s also a common trap that can lower your self-confidence. While this prediction method is scientific and logical, it isn’t always the case. As hard as it may be, you need to understand that your past doesn’t dictate your future.
That said, never reattempt a task expecting failure because you’ve failed at it before. To begin with, adopting this mindset will set you up for failure. When approaching new or scary situations, don’t negatively reflect on your past experiences. If you can’t bring yourself to adopt a positive attitude towards them, at least start with a blank slate.
6. Take the Time to Discover Yourself
Be fully transparent with yourself. Regardless of whether you choose to share yourself with the world, you need to take steps to know who you truly are. Take the time to discover your strengths, weaknesses, insecurities, and passion.
There’s something out there that you’re good at, so get out there and find it. If you already know what it is, hold on to it. Find what it is that makes your eyes light up, and do more of that.
Moreover, know what your weaknesses are and embrace them. No one’s perfect, and once you make peace with your shortcomings, you become more confident. Finally, understand why you’re insecure about your insecurities. Is it something you’ve never tried before? Did someone make fun of you for it? Pinpoint your reasons and work your way through them.
Once you’re comfortable enough with who you are, you can choose which parts of yourself to share and with whom. Generally, the less you hide, the more confident you are.
How to Build Confidence at Work?
Starting a new job or returning to an office after the covid break can be daunting, to say the least. Whether you’re afraid of meeting your new coworkers or have lost confidence in your now-rusty social skills, you’re going to need all the confidence boost that you can get.
Adding to the six points discussed above, a significant asset in the workplace is body language. Positive posture and power poses are real, and they send messages to your brain that come back in the form of confidence. Positive posture includes open shoulders, straight back, lifted head, and a smile.
Confident body posture won’t only have you radiate confidence but will also positively affect you physiologically.
Building Self-Confidence in Children
It’s always best to address the foundation. Children with high self-confidence perform better at school, both socially and academically, and are more likely to become successful adults. Therefore, taking steps to strengthen your child’s self-confidence will set them off to happier, healthier adult life.
One thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it. Essentially, you want to give your children the confidence they need without them becoming demotivated, narcissistic, or delusional.
If children receive constant praise for minimal accomplishments, they may lose the motivation to pursue bigger ones. Similarly, when you only focus on the child’s positive traits and instill in them that they’re special, it may backfire in the form of narcissism and delusion.
Is there no winning here? Of course there is. Your approach to building your child’s self-confidence should be smart and calculated. Choose the time and situation to give praise and positive reinforcement. Additionally, make sure to address their weaknesses; you should address them in a way that guides and reassures them.
Finally, always give your children the room to fail, grow, learn, and navigate life on their own, stepping in when you’re needed. Knowing they have your ultimate support will give them the confidence they need to take on life’s challenges.
To recap, self-confidence is being at ease with yourself. It’s the ability to express yourself assertively while recognising your flaws and accepting your mistakes and imperfections.
Fortunately, if your confidence is struggling, there are steps that you can take to boost it. It takes time, commitment, and effort, but it’s attainable.